Repair your car or get a new one?
Anyone who’s ever owned their own vehicle knows: cars aren’t cheap. They aren’t cheap to buy, to maintain, or to repair – and, like anything else, as your car gets older it will accrue more and more problems that will require your attention. When is the right time to cash out and buy a new vehicle?
Everyone’s looking for ways to save money these days, but when trapped between a large down payment and/or heavy monthly payments on a new car on one side, and a hefty repair bill on the other, car owners can feel stuck in a no-win situation. Used cars are more affordable, but can come with the same age-related problems as the car you’re trying to offload. So what’s a modern commuter to do? Should you repair your car with cheap car parts and just try to keep it running, or cash it in for this year’s newest model? The answer will depend on a variety of factors both about you and about the car you currently own.
Buying a new car – What to consider?
There is a laundry list of questions you should answer when making a decision about purchasing a new vehicle. The cost and nature of the necessary repairs as compared to the age and value of your car should be your first consideration. How often does the car break down, and how much is it costing you?
This figure, and the age of the vehicle, can tell you what you’re in for. Have common problem areas been addressed and maintained, or are you simply bailing a sinking ship? The general rule is, if the repairs are costing you more than the current value of your vehicle, or more than a year of monthly payments on a trade-in, it’s probably time to upgrade. Other factors may sway your decision, however, such as your current vehicle’s sentimental value to you, whether your budget allows for the purchase of a new car, and the massive value depreciation new cars sustain during their first year of ownership. Used cars obtained from reliable dealers are a great way to upgrade without taking the new-car investment value hit.
Repairing your current vehicle
If you’ve decided to repair your car, you probably want to shave some money off of its repair estimate. Can you just go out and repair your car with cheap car parts? The short answer is yes – but with the ever-present caveat: buyer beware. A variety of aftermarket parts are readily available for most vehicles, but be sure to do your homework on the quality both of the part and the manufacturer before making any repairs, as the aftermarket car part market very much follows the old adage ‘You get what you pay for.’ The better route for the budget-conscious is to invest in reputed parts and save money on your labour expenses instead, by performing what repairs you can from home. Many automotive repair jobs, while daunting at first, are fairly straightforward when you are equipped with the right tools and a service manual for your automobile.